What was the reason the war fought between North American English colonists and the British government in 1775 was not at first a war of revolution? What were the colonists' original goals? How did those goals change and why?
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Prior to the Revolutionary War, the citizens living in the colonies were subjects of British rule and wanted to remain so, they were loyal Englishmen. They had come to live in the colonies mainly for economic and religious reasons but they remained loyal to the King of England. In turn, the English rulers looked at the colonies as a source of raw materials and land for enterprises in the homeland. Colonists looked to their mother country for governmental and financial support as they settled in the colonies but they were doing so without much interference from England until the end of the Seven Years War between the British and the French. The British crown was able to ignore much of what went on in the colonies while it was engaged in the war with France, but when the war was over, England had realized substantial debt and turned to the colonies to help with repayment.
This led to a series of events which changed the colonists from loyal subjects of the King to revolutionary residents of the colonies. A shift in allegiance occurred as England tightened her control on commerce, trade, and finance through a series of taxes, tariffs, and trade restrictions such as the Navigation Acts, the Revenue Act, the Stamp Act, the Townsend Acts. As more and more restrictions were placed on their everyday lives, the colonists, who lacked representation in England, became more and more resentful but still many remained loyal Englishmen. When Lord North assumed power in Parliament he repealed many of the taxes, making for a short lived truce. As the years progressed the two sides realized that the rifts in their beliefs ran deep. Many feel the Revolutionary War began when a group of colonists disposed of tea that was sitting on a ship in Boston Harbor, symbolizing that their intolerance for British interference had reached its peak.
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